scbwi conference recap

I didn't write this post yesterday because I wanted a day to process and think. While I did think, I mostly did art. More art in one day then I've ever accomplished before in one sitting. I didn't WANT to watch tv, or check my email. I had music on in the afternoon but it was intermittent and I often forgot for a while to restart when the music stopped. And I'm excited that I get today to create more art before going back to work tomorrow.

I don't have my notes in front of me, but that's ok. What I learned the most from the conference I either remember or was never in the notes.

These highlights are in no specific order:
1. I handed out between 100-140 business cards out of 200 that I had ordered. The response to my cards was immediate and overwhelmingly positive and mostly consisted of "Are you in the portfolio showcase? No?!?! Why not?!"
2. I had a fellow illustrator come up to me because she had read my past blog posts the night before and LOVED my birthday party invitations and decorations. I never got a chance to talk to her after that, regretfully. (if you happen to be reading this, please send me an email so we can chat more!)
3. I made a conscious effort to talk to whomever I was standing by, starting with the easy icebreaker "writer, illustrator, or both?" I talked to so many fascinating people, all the names are a blur. Except three.
4. I feel I have found what will be lasting friendships with Carter and Danielle, two locals who are in very similar places in life as I am, and with Nancy, one of the winners of the portfolio showcase who made me promise I will enter the showcase next year. Nancy, I will.
5. While every speaker was interesting and some brought me near to tears, when my attention wandered I drew. A lot. With people sitting on either side of me who could see me drawing. Scary, but not nearly as nerve-wracking as having your roommate sit next to you and watch intently as you place every line, offering occasional feedback that only makes you more frustrated when you know something is not working. (I made her leave shortly thereafter)
6. I even drew stylized drawings of 3 of the keynote speakers... Then had two of them autograph my drawings of them!
7. I got a photograph each with Jon Klassen and Tony DiTerlizzi and gave them both my business cards. They both liked them. I also got a photo with Dan Santat, but can't remember if I gave him my card...oops.
8. Jon Klassen has simple, graphic characters because he hates drawing characters and uses 3d models to help him with difficult perspectives!
9. Tony DiTerlizzi works back and forth between hand drawn and digital and creates all his textures by hand with pen and ink then scans them and apples them digitally. This is very similar to my lettering process, and something I would be very comfortable doing in my work.
10. I should try collage, if only in my sketchbook as a way to play and see where it takes me.
11. Break the rules.
12. Never stop trying.

The other major thing I got out of the conference was about my portfolio...and primarily what it is lacking. I created a set of guidelines for myself to achieve in the coming year with any illustration piece I create from this point:
-interesting perspectives: probably the biggest thing I am lacking in my work--everything is straight on.
-emotive characters
-action
-simple, GRAPHIC shapes and backgrounds: I am a graphic designer, I should be playing up to my strengths and embracing negative space and what it can add to a piece
-playful color: everyone loved my color palette on my cards, so I'm going to keep it up

That is all. Now time to create art.

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